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  • Writer's pictureSavoie Hélicoptères

Development of a secondary base in the Hautes Alpes.

Savoie Hélicoptères provides non-emergency rescue services on ski slopes.

Le Dauphiné Libéré - January 01, 2024

Since the beginning of December, the helicopter providing rescue services in the Vars and Risoul ski areas no longer belongs to the SAF group, but to Savoie Hélicoptères. The operation of the SAF group no longer corresponded to the clientele and needs of the Hautes-Alpes," explain pilot Maxime Gaillard and flight assistant David Colomban. We had several contacts to replace SAF, and we chose Savoie Hélicoptères. As a result, we can now offer exactly the same missions as before, including all heliports, slope rescue, avalanche control and first flights. Or even more, such as public works and parachute drops. The machine is still an Écureuil (B3E), but "it's newer, more efficient, so it has an extra margin of safety. It also makes less noise and consumes less fuel.

Every day, the helicopter is ready to take off from the Saint-Crépin airfield in the event of an emergency, and once on station, it remains there until the ski area closes. "A helicopter like this costs around €2,000 an hour and 160 liters of fuel per hour of flight. For a rescue, we fly for a maximum of 10 minutes, using around 27 liters of fuel. The same rescue in an ambulance takes longer and is less comfortable for the victim. As for the regulations governing rescue on the slopes, they are constantly evolving and adapting to Europe. "A lot of things and equipment are imposed on us, like this €40,000 certified stretcher, and restrictions. We can no longer carry a doctor on board, or operate a helicopter. It's a handicap in terms of rescue operations: we can transport the injured person, but not the doctor, who will have to get to the area on a scooter." On a day-to-day basis, the same team has remained, with a thorough knowledge of the terrain and the operation of the two stations. Only the helicopter has changed.

Savoie Hélicoptères assure les secours sur pistes.



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